Before anything, I want to get one thing off my chest. I have not posted on this blog in OVER A YEAR. I can’t rightly keep blogger in my bio anymore. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about it, or wanting to. It just means, I am plum out of time. (Shame, embarrassment, guilt, and imposter syndrome slightly expunged). So now, onto the good stuff! The stuff that’s bringing me back to post. Bread. That’s right, BREAD! There are very few things in life that I love as much or more than bread. My kids, my husband, my dog, my cat… well, maybe not my cat. Don’t tell her. She’ll develop a bread complex.
However, finding gluten-free bread has been quite a challenge over the years, and finding allergy-friendly, gluten-free bread has been like seeking the Holy Grail. There is some good bread out there (Canyon Bakehouse), but it’s not easy to find and it’s expensive. There is a good Gluten-free bakery in LA, Rising Hearts Bakery, but I have to get in my car and drive there specifically for bread. Because the bread at my local grocery store just doesn’t cut it. You KNOW what I’m talking about. Dense, rocks, dry, too much yeast, bread that’s like foam or worse, styrofoam. Bread with too much xanthan gum or guar gum, that has a slimy gummy finish. It’s often been, well, just not worth it to bother. And I do have bread recipes of my own, (see my Pita), and I like some of the bread mixes out there (Luce’s bread is divine and crusty), but I am a very busy working mom and making bread from scratch or even from a mix is not in the cards most days of the week. Plus, I don’t own a bread machine. (First World Problems).
For many years, I thought I’d tackle this frontier. I’d launch bread products. Rolls, sandwich bread, pita, tortillas, maybe even bagels. However, my Cybele’s Free-to-Eat cookies have kept me occupied for more years than I ever anticipated and more years than I like to admit. Additionally, the challenges of bread and its short shelf life were daunting to me.
I’d all but given up on good bread and had settled on the passible gluten-free bread at Trader Joe’s.
I didn’t even know there was anything else out there. Until a pot of gold from the end of the rainbow in Ireland landed on my doorstep. Say what? A heaven-sent basket of bread. (Okay, it came in a cool shipper packed in dry ice, but to me it looked like it had angels singing and the wafting steam of fresh baked bread rising out of a homey tea towel.) I really said “Score!” as I opened it. There was sandwich bread, multigrain sandwich bread, hot dog rolls, dinner rolls, bagels, wraps in two flavors, and pita bread. To a bread starved free-from eater, this is truly manna from Heaven.
And I have eaten all of it. Yup, I ate it all. I shared a little bit with my family, but I hid some of it in the back of the freezer for myself. And by the way, the freezer is where they recommend you store their products if they aren’t being eaten immediately.
My takeaway? My favorite were the dinner rolls, crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside, without any weird aftertaste or gumminess. Second favorite, the sandwich bread, both white and multigrain. And third, the Pita bread, which is the perfect size for a sandwich. Usually, one needs to cut the pita in half for the sandwich, and it breaks and splits and is hard to stuff. Not so with theirs – it’s the perfect size to begin with. Bravo, BFree!
For more info:
About BFree Foods
Based out of Dublin, Ireland and manufacturing for the U.S. market in Montebello, California, BFree Foods is an innovator in the wheat and gluten-free bread product category. Passionately dedicated to providing exceptional taste, nutrition profiles and performance, BFree’s wraps, rolls, bread loaves, bagels and pita breads maintain the texture of traditional bread products but are free from gluten, wheat, dairy, egg, nuts and soy. All BFree products are allergen and vegan-friendly, low-fat and high- fiber, making them ideal for health-conscious consumers across the globe. For additional information, visit US.BFreeFoods.com or find the brand on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
Grilled Panzanella Salad
Makes 6 servings
Free From gluten and all top 8 allergens
It’s still 100 degrees here in Southern California, and while it’s technically fall, cool autumn days seem nowhere in sight. And so, we continue to dine al fresco, and prefer to stay away from the stove as much as possible. Take advantage of your grill with this light and flavorful Grilled Gluten-Free Bread Salad. Farmer’s Markets are still overflowing with all varieties of vine ripe tomatoes and basil, so grab them while it’s hot! For added texture you can also throw in some diced cucumber, or add some artichoke hearts. This recipe is very adaptable and always delicious.
1 small garlic clove, crushed
½ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning bread
freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
2 lbs ripe tomatoes of varying colors and sizes
8 oz (6-8 slices) gluten-free allergy-friendly white bread
1 large garlic clove, cut in half
2 tbsp drained capers
½ cup chopped fresh basil (or parsley)
1. In a large serving bowl, combine crushed garlic, oregano, ¼ teaspoon salt and a few turns pepper. Stir in vinegar. Slowly drizzle in ¼ cup oil, while whisking to emulsify. Add shallot, stir to combine and separate the rings. Chop tomatoes into chunks, or halve cherry tomatoes, then add to bowl and toss gently with vinaigrette.
2. Heat grill to medium.
3. Brush bread on both sides with remaining ¼ cup olive oil and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill 3-4 minutes per side until browned and slightly charred. Rub cut garlic half over one side of bread slices. Let cool 5 minutes. Cut into 1-inch cubes.
4. Gently stir capers and basil into tomato mixture. Add bread and toss well to combine. Serve immediately.
Grilled Gluten-Free Panzanella Salad © 2014 by Cybele Pascal
This recipe first appeared in the Summer 2014 issue of Allergic Living Magazine
Photo courtesy of Saveur.
Allergy Friendly Friday
The highlight of the past week has been seeing new bloggers appear here at Allergy Friendly Friday, and visiting your sites. I am thrilled to be introduced to all these new blogs! I really encourage you all to click through the links as much as possible, because you’ll find a lot of people doing really cutting edge work in their kitchens (and on their farms!). I lived on a small organic farm until I was 10, and it formed my predelection, at a young age, for fresh produce above all else. I later went to a farm school in Putney, Vermont where the students all worked the farm. It was the single most important part of my teens, and is certainly the source of my work ethic today. See the pic above of students at Putney, collecting fresh eggs. My father still has a small farm in Western Massachussets, and I hope that even our brief visits there are helping to give my sons an appreciation for farm to table foods. Kudos to you all who are farming your own food. Your kids will thank you! (more…)